California’s Community Colleges: Shelters in a Time of Crisis

By Larry Galizio, Ph.D.
President & CEO, Community College League of California 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

As devastating fires rage across our state, California’s community colleges have served as evacuation centers, American Red Cross Shelters, and mission control for Cal Fire and other emergency service agencies and personnel.

Shasta College – a district of over 10,000 square miles serving Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity Counties – almost immediately became a hub for emergency related services once the Carr Fire broke out close to Redding. Displaced residents have been afforded shelter, food and supplies, updates on fire containment, and simply a place to gather and commiserate with neighbors and friends. The almost seventy year-old campus has even provided space for large farm animals at its Shasta College Farm. Additionally, colleagues at Butte College and the College of Marin have authorized their campus police officers to assist with operations at the evacuation center at the Shasta College campus.

At Mendocino College – which serves a 3,200 square mile district in Mendocino and Lake Counties – the Ukiah campus is serving as an evacuation center for community members displaced by another round of destructive fires ravaging the Lake County region. Lake County residents have access to food, shower facilities, and other important resources at the College’s Ukiah Center.

And with approximately eighty percent of California’s first responders receiving their education and credentials at a community college, it is very likely that the brave men and women fighting these fires honed their skills and gained their professional knowledge at one of our institutions.

Unfortunately, at the time this is being written, neither the Lake County or Carr Fires have been contained, nor will the true extent of the damage be known for some time. What is known is that the faculty and staff of many of these colleges will be forced to rebuild their lives. 

To help support our colleagues and fellow Californians in their time of need, both Shasta College and Mendocino College have set up funds for donations and help. Your financial contributions are essential to helping displaced students and families begin to rebuild their lives.


Your gift will support Mendocino College students, staff, and community members affected by the recent fires in Lake & Mendocino counties. This campaign is organized by the Mendocino College Foundation.

Donate to Support Mendocino College

Your gift will go to Shasta College students impacted by the Carr Fire.  This GoFundMe campaign is organized by the Shasta College Foundation. Donations are tax-deductible. 

Donate to Support Shasta College Students

Your gift will go to Shasta College employees impacted by the Carr Fire. This GoFundMe campaign is organized by Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Superintendent/President Joe Wyse. Donations are non-tax deductible.

Donate to Support Shasta College Faculty